Inspire : Public Works Jan Feb 2014
41 ON THE HORIZON IPWEA's Director of Sustainability Dr Stephen Lees acts as the Institute's conduit and advocate for sustainability issues, and is on the organising committee for the 2014 Sustainability in Public Works Conference. BY GEMMA BLACK developments that were likely to end up under water, but most state governments have pulled that back now, so the onus is on councils to justify any restriction on development. It makes it diffcult, because I think councils have the responsibility to take the long-term view. They may be elected for three or four year s, but we'r e looking after the interests of rate payers decades into the future, and councils are making decisions that are going to have long-term, maybe even multi- generational, implications. In many ways councils can often do things faster than state and federal government. With things like climate change adaptation and preparing our communities to cope with the more demanding climatic conditions of the future, local governments have been at the forefront, because they're getting on and doing things, they're not just talking about it, they're building things and actually making a difference. HOW DO THE FIELDS OF SUSTAINABILITY AND ASSET MANAGEMENT INTERACT? I would like to see those two felds come together, to see that, as part of managing your assets, you also look at sustainability. The two felds have been separate in the past, but I think they are now coming together, which is a trend I've noticed over the course of my career -- things are becoming more integrated. You can't just focus on asset management or sustainability, it all has to merge together. WHAT WILL BE THE MAIN OBJECTIVES OF THE IPWEA'S 2014 SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE? The main aim will be to come up with practical measures that people can take away and implement. Conferences can sometimes become talkfests, where people talk about pie-in-the-sky stuff that often doesn't get us anywhere. So, it's a matter of coming back to reality and talking about what local government practitioners can do, day to day. They can't change the world, but there are things they can do within their power and capability that can make a cumulative difference. If the councils around Australia all took similar measures, they could be very powerful. The conference will be a great opportunity to raise the profle of sustainability in local government and public works; to act as a focal point. Sustainability is one of those issues that can drift in and out of our consciousness; to have a conference with all of the main players together will bring the issue to the forefront, while giving IPWEA members an opportunity to network and support each other. ••• The 2014 IPWEA Sustainability in Public Works Conference is on at Tweed Heads, NSW on 27--29 July 2014. For more information or to register, visit ww w.ipwea.org/sustain2014 CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION Have your say on this story. Visit http://goo. gl/sbecdL to comment on this article.
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